South West Region (93)
In miserable conditions down at Loudoun Academy, Auchinleck S1s travelled away from home to defeat the home side by a 3-1 goal margin. Loudoun had taken a 1-0 lead into half time with a scrappy goal turned in by Barry Davidson. Auchinleck changed tactics a little and scored twice in quick succession with goals from Kaylum Ferguson and Daniel Mitchell. Mitchell made sure of this Ayrshire Cup victory when his deflected 20 yard strike took a massive deflection and found the back of the net late on.
In truth, most of the first half was a scrappy affair. The conditions were horrendous, with awful winds and lashing rain, and credit to the boys who did turn up. The first real chance was Loudoun’s goal, with a few ricochets fired around the box and the ball being turned in by the on-hand Davidson with a real poacher’s finish.
The small and pacey striker was superb all match, leading break away charges and dropping off strike-partner Adam Campbell to real effect. The former almost made it 2-0 on the twenty five minute mark: he received the ball after coming deep, swivelled and unleashed a high, looping shot that seemed destined for the top corner but rather incredibly, Auchinleck goalkeeper Ben Mendhurst leaped and turned it over. The action was completed shortly before half time when Auchinleck’s Gavin Howe scampered forward, and found the onrushing Conlin Kelly. Loudoun goalkeeper Lochlin Kirkland commanded his box all too well though, and he was out to smother the attempt.
Galston YFC 1998s comfortably saw off Bellfield Colts in a 3-1 thriller. There was only one point and one place separating these sides going into this game, but the home side now have moved four points ahead of their rivals. Goals from Jason Murray, Ross Duncan and Kyle Gilmour had the blue and whites cruising, but a late late late free kick from Brian Campbell provided consolation - spectacular, but merely consolation nonetheless.
In truth, Galston controlled most of the play in the first half. They sprayed the ball around Loudoun Academy AstroTurf - where they train - and at times were great to watch. Within five minutes they were almost ahead but Scott Nelson deflected a dangerous cross wide for a corner, which was bizarrely given as a goal kick. After the excellent Craig Black had drive forward and drawn a foul, Kyle Gilmour had a chance to put his side one up with a direct free kick. His effort was on target, but keeper Matthew McClung wasn't troubled.
However, they were ahead six minutes later. Bellfield were caught out three on three, and Jason Murray had received the ball thirty yards out. He strode forward, an with Gilmour on his left and Duncan on his right, he opted to smack the ball as hard as he could from the D. McClung got a hand on it, but the strike was too ferocious to be kept out. Galston 1-0 Bellfield Colts.
It was almost two goals in two minutes and Gilmour received a ball and used his agility well to get a shot curled away, which tantalisingly, crept just wide. The same man nearly was in again approximately forty seconds later, with Black and Murray linking up well and the latter firing a ball across, and Gilmour swung a left boot at it but made no connection.
Galston had started the better side, and whilst form nor ability was in question here, you had to start worrying for Bellfield at this point. At this rate, Galston surely would score again soon.
They had McClung to thank for preventing such a thing ninety seconds after Gilmour's second chance. From a corner, the ball dropped to Spencer Hall who chested and volleyed; the dipping strike looked certain to find the bottom corner - only for McClung to dive, stretch, and make an outrageous save to tip it round the post.
That seemed to steady the Bellfield ship a bit. However, they still had yet to test Jordan Boyd in the Galston goal, nor the defence for that matter.
Eight minutes on from McClung's wonder save Murray fired in a cross that was begging for a poacher to tap in, but no one was on hand. Finally, Gilmour played in Hall, and one on one, the centre midfielder just could not get the ball out of his feet in time, and a defender slid in and won the ball, and proceed to boot it clear. That concluded the action of the first half.
Saturday, 02 November 2013 17:51 Written by Kyle Brown
In torrid conditions, Loudoun Academy beat local rivals the James Hamilton Academy by a score of 2-0. The James Hamilton were the team applying the pressure throughout the first half, and even early in the second half Kyle Mason cracked the post with a 20 yard piledriver. However, they were made to rue the wasted chances when Steven Lindsay headed a collector's item goal to put the home side up one up, and Bryce Barrie made sure of the win when he tapped in eight minutes later.
Having described the conditions above as torrid would almost be a euphemism: there was a large turn out of people ready to cheer on Loudoun before the hail and gale force winds commenced, and everyone pitch side quickly disappeared. Both teams have players I have witnessed at boys club level that are all capable players, that can string multiple passes together in an attractive way. However, the weather made this nearly impossible. The first half was extremely scrappy, with both sides trying to adapt to the long ball tactics.
The James Hamilton adapted better though, and forced John Hamilton into a few decent saves with strikes from Mason and captain Alistair McCloud. However, the goalkeeper really proved his worth five minutes before half time when his reflex save from point blank range denied a mystified Krissy Kerr.
Hamilton Accies played Celtic FC Girls Academy in a playoff deciding game in the South West Development League to see who would become league champions. Both teams finished on the same number of points, therefore a further match between the two had to be played. The game itself was won by Celtic, who scored 3 in the second half through Emma Donnelly, Victoria Kane and Kimberly Hughes. At the final whistle, the Celtic team celebrated wildly and their victory was well deserved.
The first 5 minutes saw mostly Celtic on the ball. They had a couple of chances, most notably a goalmouth scramble which was cleared. A corner came their way, but Hamilton's Olivia McMahon was equal to it and got the ball away. Celtic had the front foot at this point, and they were attacking Accies mainly down the right. They had a couple of chances but were unlucky not to score.
Hamilton started playing at this point, creating a couple of chances to score. McMahon had a shot but it was straight at Celtic keeper Shannon Burgon.
5 minutes later, Rhiannon Brown nipped in to get the ball in the Celtic half. She took a very good shot but it was smartly saved again by Burgon. By this time, the game was very even and all it needed was for either team to get a break in the pouring rain, and that could have made the difference.
Celtic were back on the attack with Kane on the ball. She took it beyond two players, and forced a save with the foot of Emily Ferguson in the Hamilton goal.
The ball was skidding off the 3G surface and both teams were getting lucky breaks, but Celtic came closest to scoring when a corner from Ciara Bonner was caught on the volley by Whitehead, but the ball went wide of the goal.
Four goals, a stunning hat trick and a ‘Sturridge and Suarez’ esque strike partnership helped Galston Youth Football Club 2000s on their way to a clinical home win in their league match against Tass Juniors 2000s. Nick Terry had given his side a two goal lead after an early brace, but Robert Murphy pulled one back before Terry completed his hat trick shortly before half time. Straight after half time, Terry’s strike partner Findlay Holden restored his side’s four goal lead and despite a late consolation goal from Jamie Quigley, Galston ran out winners by four goals to two.
I have to admit, I was excited to see my local club – Galston – in action at my hometown of Newmilns. Admittedly, having seen the weather both last night and game day, I feared this match would have been cancelled. Perhaps other matches were indeed cancelled, but Jamieson Park where the match was to be held was in pristine condition; and despite the cold, icy rain this match went ahead.
I am glad it did, as it proved to be a cracker of a match. Tass had the chance to leapfrog Galston in the league if they had won (the teams were separated by one point and a solitary place in the table) but Galston proved too tough to beat at home. The boys in blue and white came out fighting and inside two minutes I felt they should have had a penalty – in fact most people did. Terry played a super through ball onto the onrushing Cameron Craig. He calmly rounded the Tass keeper but was pulled down by a combo of the goalie and defender. Despite the appeals from Galston and the looks of horror from Tass, nothing was given.
However, Galston were not to be too disheartened: sweeper Chris Leggit played in Terry and - in the same position Craig was in only three moments before – he rounded keeper Shaun McKinney before dispatching clinically in between two covering defenders to put the home side 1-0 up.
It was 2-0 only moments later: Terry plucked a Tass goal kick out of the air beautifully, then blasted it into the back of the net via the crossbar. Galston deserved their early lead, as this kind of early pressure would be a hard match for most teams.
It was on the sixteenth minute mark that Tass finally worked Galston goalkeeper Joe Aiwansoba: Murphy played a defence splitting pass and with Scott Burns running onto it, Aiwansoba was out very sharply to smother the ball at the striker’s feet. Burns was then in again just forty seconds afterwards, but this time the covering Grant Semple reached across and cleared the ball away for a corner.
That corner came to nothing but a pacey counter attack from Galston, with powerful forward Findlay Holden driving up the length of the park, he attempted a cut-back for Terry but it was headed away by Tass captain Matthew Reid. It only went as far as Greg Hampshire though, and the right midfielder’s blast was smartly held and smothered by McKinney, with Terry lurking for a follow up.
That was twenty minutes into the first half, and the game was being dominated by the home side. They say that being a coach is stressful, and as Dave Taggart attempted to lift his team and get the boys out of first gear, one must have wondered if he soon would have to be placed on an articulator! Saying that though, he did finally manage to waken Tass up, and they started playing better football at the end of the first half, and scored a beautifully worked goal.
After soaking up an attack, Tass charged forward, interchanging a flurry of passes along the way. Connor Ford – a standout for his side today – broke away and then after some great midfield work Reid found himself in front of goal with team mate Murphy in support. Reid opted for the self less option, and gave Murphy a tap in to make it 2-1.
Tass then began to apply the pressure, as the home side were pinned back. They were not clinical enough though, and some last ditch defending helped to preserve Galston’s lead.
Tass were left to rue not making the most of this possession, as Galston scored their third on the stroke of half time. Holden took a quick throw to Kieran Boylan – the latter fired it across goal to Terry. Starting with his back to goal, Terry turned and managed to lob the ball over the goalkeeper as well as the covering defender, yet keep the ball low enough for it to stay underneath the crossbar. A remarkable finish to complete a remarkable hat trick in a remarkable first half that this young man won’t forget in a hurry!
Thursday, 10 October 2013 22:50 Written by Kyle Brown
Grange Academy produced a stunning come back from 2-0 down to grab a late late late 3-2 win away at Loudoun Academy. Luckily, I was on hand to witness this thriller first hand...
The Grange - my current school - and Loudoun - the school I would have enrolled in had my parents not divorced many moons ago - already had a personal feel to the game. Moreover, most of the Loudoun squad are friends and ex-teammates of mine from Boys Club football; Truly, this was set up for a game that could not be missed. With considerable knowledge of both sides, I have to admit I thought the Grange had a stronger side with a fuller squad, but you can never underestimate a Loudoun Academy side.
Of course, it was Loudoun who raced into an early lead. Elliot Kenny converted from the spot after the referee dubiously awarded a handball against Rory Jamieson. Kenny did well to score, as was up against Shaun Newman, Ayr United U-19s goalkeeper, who has a good track record of saving penalties.
It was 2-0 less than one hundred seconds later! Mattie Balls chased down Newman and his hardwork played off, as Balls got the rub of the ball as it ricocheted off of him and into the goal! Mattie was one of my ex teammates, and I think Shaun - one of my good friends - perhaps underestimated how quick he is!
It took Grange a while to get going. They were constantly pinned back, and the Loudoun captain Adam Houston (another ex teammate, who won my player of the week award between Bellfield and Southside) again was excellent.
It took the Grange twenty minutes to create anything, but with their first shot on goal they pulled one back! Jamie McNair darted on to a flick on from Grant Forbes before bearing down on goal and nutmegging goalkeeper John Hamilton. John is a great keeper (he's another ex-teammate) and I think Jamie can be proud to have finished well past him.
Bizarrely, that's really all there is for first half action. For school matches you play shorter halves anyway, and neither keeper was forced into action after McNair's goal. It became a midfield battle, with Loudoun constantly on top, with Connor Kirk and Steven Lindsay in particular impressing. Again, the latter is a former team mate, and he is an outstanding player who was given too much room to play in the first period of the game.
Half Time Loudoun Academy 2-1 Grange Academy
I got my first insight to the girls side of youth football this evening. Following the success of the Scotland Girls U-17s side who have finalised their place in the European Championships for the first time in their history, I decided it really is about time I went and saw first hand a girls football game. Coincidentally, just two days after Scotland's success, there was an opportunity to spectate and report on the Senior Girls match between Kilmarnock Academy and Carrick Academy. The game heavily favoured Kilmarnock Academy, as they had won the league last year and had more players that still played competitive football. Carrick though, won by two goals to nil, after a clinical six minute period in the second half.
As a Grange Academy pupil, I finished my school time at 3:25pm and got to St Joseph's Academy (where the Kilmarnock Academy play their home games) just after 4pm. All day, and even on my walk over, I had been curiously wondering about how this game would turn out. Girls youth football, in my eyes, is very under publicised. There is not a single female team at any age within the enormous Grange Academy, and yet for boys there is both an 'A' and 'B' squads at every age group, and even 'C' squads in S1 and S2. I hoped by reporting on the game, the girls will get a bit more recognition, and perhaps another youngster will be encouraged to play. Hopefully, some day soon Grange will have their own girls squad.
Sadly, I was a bit of a hypocrite when I said above girls youth football is under represented; I too have never even watched a game before. I was not about to pass away the chance to see this one though, despite the hassle of rushing to St Josephs! Fortunately, I arrived in plenty of time, largely owing thanks to Carrick coming all the way from Maybole! Luckier still, there were some friends of mine at the match, who gave me some background knowledge on the players.
Swiftly, kick off time was abound. Kilmarnock were lining up in a 4-4-2 formation whilst the Maybole side started with a 4-5-1. Moreover, there was a decent amount of spectators there. School games don't usually attract any spectators, but here their was a handful of Kilmanock Academy pupils cheering on their side, and a host of parents and grandparents alike who had made the pilgrimage to watch the game.
Kilmarnock almost had the lead straight away; Kristiana Hamilton forced her way through the defence and fired a shot - straight away warming the gloves of Hannah Davies in the Carrick goal. The Kilmarnock Ladies FC striker - who made her first team debut at age 14 - looked a key player for her Academy, but seemed to be playing through an injury, eventually leading to her being subbed rotationally twice, and then coming off permanently.
Tagan Lawson, an ex-Hamilton Accies Ladies FC defender, then charged out of defence and somehow found her way into the Carrick goal and unleashing a high shot that shaved the post and went into the side netting.
It took Carrick a while to get started, and it looked like their game plan was to involve their pacy wingers whilst Lauren Smith played the line striker role. Chances were scarce for the away side in the first half, but eventually mid way through the opening period of the game Hannah McSoreley sprinted out of midfield and looked like she was going to score, but Kilmarnock's goalkeeper and captain - one time Scotland Capped - Hannah McLean was alert and quickly off her line to duly foil McSoreley.
Despite playing through injury, Hamilton was proving difficult to deal with for Carrick, and the winger ran through on goal before taking a touch too wide; this however allowed her to cross the ball for Zoe Ross and her half-volley had Davies beat, but luckily for Carrick the crossbar prevented them from going a goal down.
Moments later, the black and reds were on the attack again. A deep ball in from Kyra Smith found the on rushing 'number 10' Lauren Johnstone who volley'd into the side netting, which, deceptively, looked in.
Carrick's only real attack in the first half came from the resulting counter attack. Amy Miller played a 1-2 with McSoreley and the former was sent 1 on 1 with McLean. The winger sent her shot wide though, and the goalie did well to put her off.
The last action of the first half came again from Kilmarnock, and again it was Hamilton who was at the centre of it. She wriggled her way through a pack of midfielders and fired a ferocious shot which seemed goal bound, but the brave Phoebe Wilson leaped and headed the ball over.
Eleven goals, three penalties and drama at every turn in the match between Bellfield and Southside 1997s will mean I won't have many better games to report on for the rest of my life! Ultimately, Southside won the match by a single goal, but they have their keeper and lady luck to thank for the result, as Bellfield, sitting second bottom of the league, will surely be left bamboozled as to how they didn't win the match, or at the very least, get a point.
At half past one on Sunday October 6th, it looked a miserable day down at Struthers Park in Kilmarnock, and the Ayr-based Southside may have been wondering if the game would be postponed. Thankfully, Struthers is an excellent pitch, and this cracker of a match went ahead. Ironically, come two o'clock, the sun was shining, and all of a sudden there was a huge turn out to watch this match. The game kicked off at 2pm, but Bellfield didn't start until about quarter past: they gifted Southside an early lead. Blaine Swift drove down the left side, and not a single challenge was made on him. His dinked cross evaded the outstretched Allan Tipping's glove, and Stuart Reid headed home.
It should have been 2-0 five minutes later. Chrissy Hamilton's through ball found Craig Bova's run, and the right-back's shot was blocked by Tipping, expertly making amends for the first goal. Then the big goalie parried brilliantly from Blaine Swift's drive from the penalty spot area moments thereafter. This was Southside's best period of play in the entire match. Bellfield finally woke up and on the thirteenth minute mark found themselves level. Mikey Stewart played in Scott Cowie, and the striker's shot was saved by Spiers, and then Stewart's follow up was also blocked and cleared, however, only as far as Adam Wales who drove back into the box and found his resulting shot blocked, but eventually Blair 'Big Mac' MacLaughland was on hand to stab the loose ball home. That seemed to kickstart Bellfield, and for the rest of the match they played attacking football, created chances and sometimes left themselves open to the counter. Sadly, the latter proved to be decisive on the result, but it really was a cracking match. Firstly, Cowie was in again after a superb flick on from Wales. Spiers - who had just played forty five minutes for Kilmarnock and will complete his move tomorrow - made an outstanding stop.
Moments later, it was Josh Caldow's turn to be stopped by Spiers, as the two captains faced each other the winger couldn't beat Spiers from an angle. However, it was Southside who got their noses back in front. From a corner, Caldow needlessly slide tacked Bova from behind, getting nowhere near the ball, and gifting the Ayr side a penalty. Roy Barr blasted the ball home to make it 2-1, giving Tipping no chance and - that cliché - actually bursting the net. Soon after, it was Cowie again being foiled by Spiers. He brilliantly controlled a long ball, and found himself too much room to turn and shoot from fifteen yards, but it wasn't to be the strikers day at all. Seven minutes prior to half time, Caldow played in Stewart, and his low drive had everyone holding their breath, but he could not beat the frame of the goal, as it bounced off the post and out. He knows himself he should have scored though. That proved costly, as Southside hit Bellfield on the break, and in a costly few moments, were soon down 4-1. Roy Barr controlled a switch right-to-left ball, and powered to the byline, cutting it back for overzealously attacking centre half Rory Connell, who tapped home.
Straight from centre, Bellfield gave the ball away and Reid chasing a hopeful ball through, Tipping called for the ball and slid out, but his own defender Ryan Spence took the ball away from him, was easily disposed, and Reid had an open goal to tap into. It could have been more. Reid had the ball in the net moments later, but was wrongly adjudged to be offside. Marco Pieroni then was thwarted by Tipping, but had the left midfielder passed the ball square, it would have been a certain goal. That concluded the first half action, with Southside three goals to the good.